Wednesday 29 November 2023


Very short session yesterday. After a couple of frosts and the colour dropping out the river I thought it might be tough.

It was, but I wangled out a nice roach in a normally "chubby" swim

What was very interesting, was that there were loads of roach rolling ( if I was an expert I'd say "priming" ) as the light dimmed, despite (?) the plummeting temperatures. Lots more activity that I've seen in better catching conditions.

And on that grammatically mangled note I'll sign off.

Thursday 23 November 2023

Tale of Two Rivers

Now where have I seen that blog title before?

The other week a very nice chap invited me to fish his local river.

He's fished it all his life and has caught mind boggling numbers of huge chub, plus monstrous bream and perch. Fish of a size my river rarely, if ever produces.

I knew what to expect and as we walked the semi urban, canalised, pretty uniform section I can't say I was excited.

It looked in good nick though and we fished all afternoon and well into the evening. Neither of us had a bite. That's big fish angling for you.

During the fifty minute drive back along the busiest, most unpleasant road in East Anglia I reflected, yet again, that it ain't all about the fish.

The following day I was back on the beautiful Suffolk Stour and fished "The Forbidden" stretch all afternoon, seeing only a single dog walker.

I tried a swim I've not fished for years and was rewarded with a bite a chuck, mint conditioned roach that will not have seen a hook before.

I'll go back and have another go soon and see if I can find some bigger ones. On the float of course.

Further downstream I managed to nab a couple of nice chub before embalking on the ten minute drive home on traffic free country lanes. Smug git 😄

Some cold weather on the way so it might makes thing a bit tougher in the short term.  We'll see.

Saturday 18 November 2023

Quick Trips

I managed to find a shoal of roach on the river the other day. Lovely swim, with a variety of water ranging from very fast to practically slack. 

Not huge fish but very good size for this stretch.

I was well chuffed with those two, it was in flood and extremely coloured and I do like those conditions for roach. Light quiver rod, micro cage feeder and bread flake this time.

I'm hoping that one day I'll get a monster from this river, I've no idea if they exist but you never know.

Yesterday I was up early, had a six mile walk-run along the water meadows in glorious sunshine before rewarding myself with a corking breakfast.

Then it was off for a bit of trotting in what looked like absolutely perfect conditions.

It was a bit of a struggle and although I managed three chub, two of those were at dusk on the last few casts. 

I was back using the 12' 9", Drennan IM8 Specimen Float rod, twenty five years old and still the best float rod Ive ever used. I'm not as yet convinced about the fifteen foot Cadence I bought a while ago. I hate the tiny rings they insist on using, they impede casting and trotting efficiently massively in my opinion. 

Another thoroughly enjoyable day.

Tuesday 14 November 2023

Good Day, Bad Day

I say "day", the first session was for an hour and a half. I was definitely not fishing today. Oh no, a six mile walk-run, a big midday fry up and a relaxing afternoon listening to football on the radio. That's what was happening today.

Great run, even better fry up and I relaxed for, ooh, about twenty minutes before I was bored.

Looked out the window. Wasn't raining. Hmm.

Half hour later I was casting out a big lump of bread flake in a "new" favourite swim. First cast a nice chub, then a couple of smaller ones. 

A couple of rattling bites and I changed to a smaller hook, hoping for a roach. First cast, tip pulled slowly round and a nice roach was on.

I finished with three chub and a roach. A very nice, very short outing.

Yesterday I went to another stretch, baited up and was full of confidence of a few decent fish.

In short, I lost a rod rest ( subsequently found ), a thirty year old pen knife ( subsequently found ) and a leg and foot off a very old lightweight chair ( not found ). How the feck a six inch bit of metal and four inch diameter foot can disappear I don't know.

I fished for three hours and into dark without so much as a touch.

Win some, lose some.

Sunday 12 November 2023

In The Groove

As I've said a million times before, it's not just about the size or quantity of the fish.

It's about going somewhere scenic, or at least peaceful, with a bit of mystery and ideally with no other fecker fishing ( apart from a good mate of course). Sorry, I'm not usually anti social at all, just when I'm fishing.

I've been fishing the local river, the gear and bait always ready to be grabbed for short sessions. Ten minutes from the house, travelling light, nabbing a fish or two, its my type of fishing.

Cooky came along the other day and managed to hook and lose two decent chub through "user error". I could say more but won't. Another time I'll spill the beans.

I used the fifteen footer for a bit of trotting and managed to hook a nice chub. Unfortunately, the strike resulted in the rod getting thoroughly tangled in some brambles. An unholy mess. The chub, of course, was lost

Just before dusk, in the umpteenth swim, the float buried and a beautiful roach surfaced. It was in pristine condition and was probably the biggest I've had from this stretch.

Yesterday, I fished on a gloriously sunny, cold afternoon. One swim produced two nice chub in two casts, but in the other swims I was biteless, except on a sweeping bend, where roach were hitting the bread each cast. I missed most of them. Well, you will do on a size six hook with a quarter slice won't you ?

As soon as the sun disappeared the temperature plummeted and the water meadows were enveloped by a low lying mist, the only sounds being the honking of geese and the gentle calls of teal on the flooded washes.

Oh, and the faint sound of 5Live as I listened to the football on the radio. That's messed up the purple prose, eh ?

Tuesday 7 November 2023

Floods and Chubs

I've never seen rain like it this early in the season.

My part of the lower river takes three or four days longer to settle down than stretches only five or six miles upstream, due in part to a couple of tributaries draining in to the main channel.

At the moment a friend fifteen miles upstream tells me it's normal level and now clear. Not here Guvnor.

Today it was going through like a train but with a perfect green tinge that tells you that you will most certainly catch chub.

Fishing any available steady bit of water resulted in a few bites and I finished with four moderately sized chub. Bit of fun on a short session on a sunny afternoon 

I also had a ruffe the other day. I love 'em.

I'm hoping to get back on the "Forbidden" section later in the week if the rain stops and the flow eases.

I'm taking my mate Dicky Boy who wants a decent river bream, so the pressure is on. Wish me luck.

Sunday 29 October 2023

Mixed Bag

In the morning I pre baited my river "bream swim" with about a dozen big balls of groundbait with mixed seed and sweetcorn. The river was still pushing through a bit hard, but the colour was just about perfect.

I returned in the afternoon and half heartedly fished a few other swims before settling down in the baited pitch. Nothing. Not a twitch, so I moved up and down the stretch searching for a bite.

It seemed dead, but this section is not exactly heaving with fish, so not it was not entirely unexpected. 

Oh, the photo above ? Chubby you say ? The chub didn't think so today. 

Back in THE swim and after a short while, a bite ! A nice chub and one who had been gorging on the sweetcorn. 

That's more like it.

As the flow was so quick I used a dropper to get the bait down in the right spot and next cast I was in to a fish that could only be a carp. It fought long and hard and when I netted it I was disappointed to see it was a poor old bugger, ottered and no doubt an escapee from a lake in the recent floods.

More bait introduced, but no further action until dusk, when, as the sky cleared and the mist rolled down into the valley, several fish rolled close in.

A huge full moon rose over the far bank alders throwing out shadows over the flood plain. The tip knocked twice and pulled round, resulting in a smallish bream.

My now it was a bit chilly, I was hungry and there was rugby on TV, so I packed up and headed home.

I'm not going to be breaking any records on the lower river, but it's local, scenic and unfished so ticks alot of boxes for me.

You'll not be surprised to know that I'm going back this evening for another go.

Thursday 26 October 2023

Big Perch

Throughout the 90s and early 2000s I did alot of fishing for big perch.

I had four small waters with two miles of the house that produced fish for me between 2lb 13 oz and a monstrous 4lb 8oz.

They were all really small waters, the biggest being about 1.5 acres and the smallest barely half an acre.

Most of the fish came to decent sized livebaits ( 2 or 3 oz, with perch being best bait ). Plenty on lobs too.

There was one water where dead outfished lives, the only water I've ever experienced this.

One day I'd been fishing lives all morning and for some reason half heartedly tried a dead. Within a short while the float slipped away and a two pounder was in the net.

I finished the day with seven over 2lb, with six to deads and only one to a livebait. This happened again on the next two trips and after that I rarely used lives.

We had dozens of three pounders including a couple from two different rivers.

On my mates little canal like lake we were livebaiting when the float slid away and I was into a clonking fish of 3lb 12oz. Next cast the livebait was hit again and the rod hooped round as what was surely a record breaking perch surged down the lake ( there are no pike in here ). It felt bloody massive and no, I didn't lost it.

It went just over 7lbs. Unfortunately it was a carp. On a perch livebait ! Believe it or not I also had a rudd over 2lb on a sizeable livebait from this water too.

It's been a long while since I had one over 3lb. None of the waters we fished during this time produce fish as big and to be honest I haven't got a clue where to start locally any more.

I am looking though. Ideally a river and ideally not fished by anybody. And while we're at it fish to 4lb plus. We can dream.

Watch this space.

Thursday 19 October 2023

Keeping It Looocal

Forecast was rain and wind, so I sacked off work and went fishing on "The Big Stillwater".

Two pike rods out while I concentrated on the feeder.

I was fishing a deep section, at 35-40 yards I had over twenty five feet of water. Half dozen big feeders of bait and I was fishing. Lazily, I was only winding in when I got a bite.

Couple of small roach at first, then the bream moved in. Decent ones too, averaging around 5lb. I ended up with nine of similar size.

It was ridiculously mild for late October at around 18 degrees and I sat sheltered from the wind in a T shirt. The forecast rain never arrived.

The pike rods remained motionless until I packed up in the afternoon. 

A pleasant lazy day.

Tuesday 17 October 2023


Been a busy time with the old folks in decline, not nice to see to say the least. No chance of getting on the road in the camper for a while yet.

Nights quickly drawing in now, first frost the other day, ahhhhh shit in a bag and punch it.

I'd forgotten about being cold and how I hate the early darkness. Bollocks.

Anyway.....Nice bit of rain the other day and the local river had a bit of flow. Not a proper flood but it washed away the duckweed at least.

I'd put a bit of bait in the bream spot I fished last winter. I'm interested to see if there's a really big one somewhere. Also, when you bait with a load of mixed seed, the fish root around so much that most of the summer weed and crap gets washed off the bottom, which makes good presentation much easier.

Today I had an hour at dusk to see if there was much about. It was a bit nippy, a nasty easterly wind giving it a wintery feel.

A few trembles on the quiver on the first couple of casts gave me some hope whilst I trickled in some hemp and corn. After half hour or so I got a roachy rattle which morphed into a steady pull and the first river bream of the season was on. It pulled surprisingly well and turned out to be a nice fish of just over 5lb in absolutely immaculate condition.

That'll do for starters.

As is usual here, as soon as you catch one it seems to spook the rest. I gave it half an hour before packing up in the encroaching gloom and walked back towards the twinkling lights of the village.

Friday 22 September 2023

Social Session

I awoke to a distinctly nippy morning. Heavy dew, mist rising off the river and a cloud free sky.

Time for breakfast, a leisurely five minute walk along the lane to the cafe. Full English ? Small, medium or large sir ? I think you all know the answer to that.

It was as good as it looked.

Back at the van new hook lengths were tied, the tackle bag given a token tidy and I was ready to go. I had another smallish barbel of 4-5 lb in front of the campsite, taking it easy and lazing in the autumn sun, before moving downstream to meet up with Chris.

He had a tiny chub first cast on a large, rock hard boilie and even made me net it. Swing it in man ! 

Just before dusk my upstream rod took off and after a long fight a nice fish of 9lb 9oz was landed. Lovely.

Sorry about the hat.

Not long after that, as we stood chatting, sharing out mutual loathing of Manchester United FC , Chris was away again, which resulted in a cracking, beautifully conditioned fish 10lb 2oz.

We packed in as the temperature dropped and went our separate ways.

Lovely social session and a great way to end the trip.

Lucky again with the weather, good company and with the best four barbel going a total of 44lb 2oz, excellent fishing.

On A Roll


I decided on something different and set up the rolling rod for a go at a very nice looking stretch downstream.

It's got terrible road access, poor bank access and a massively annoying herd of bullocks, so unsurprisingly there were no signs that anyone had been fishing recently. 

The rolling meat method is absolutely deadly if you get it right and on only the second cast the forty year old Sportex hooped over as a big barbel surged downstream.

The old rod creaked and groaned and with the braid ( which I'm not at all keen on ) it made every crash and surge feel as if I was near to disaster. It took ages to get in but proved to be a right pig of a fish weighing 11lb 10oz. Fantastic fish and even better to get it on that method.

Back to base for a snack and coffee and then a quick chuck out in front of the campsite where I nabbed a small barbel of around 4lb and then  on to meet Chris, a very knowledgeable local, who took me to a spot he fishes regularly. 

What a beautiful spot and two minutes from his house. Lucky bloke.

When your luck is in its in and ten minutes after mindlessly chucking a boilie and pva bag out the Sportex was in action again and after a long and savage fight Chris netted it.

"Getting on for a double" he said.

It seemed a bit short to make double figures to me, but when he lifted it from the water it seemed to grow in size.

A clonking fish of 12lb 4oz, well chuffed as they say. Or I do.

No other bites were forthcoming but we chewed the fat and made plans for the next day. 

Ooh I love it when you're on a roll.

Wednesday 20 September 2023

Still At It

Lots going on at the mo, the olds are not too good, bless 'em. I got a chance to have a few days fishing this week, might be last chance for a while, so I pointed the camper in the direction of the Trent.

Extremely high winds were forecast and they were right. Somewhere along the A1 the toilet vent was ripped off and presumably dumped on some poor unfortunate in  vehicle somewhere behind me.

First time I realised was when I arrived at the river and needed the loo. Oh well, now I know what it's like to have an outdoor bog. On the plus side it gets rid of the stink very quickly. 

Worse things happen at sea.

It peed down this afternoon, but as soon as it relented I got the gear out and mindlessly cast out two rods and huddled under the brolly.

Nobody else about and after an hour or so I heard the baitrunner screaming. Loooooovely. The rod hooped over and something unseen roared off. I had visions of something huge. Well, it wasn't huge but it was a very nice fish.

It turned out to be a very long, but very slim, barbel of 10lb 11oz. Great start.

As soon as it got dark the mitten crabs became a pain and after landing a hefty bream I packed up, keen to feast on cheese and biscuits and listen to 5Live to witness the latest Man Utd humiliation.  

The cheese was fantastic, as was yet another Utd defeat.

So, roof vent destroyed, my old fishing chair also damaged ( its been repaired loads of times and it owes me nothing ), loads of traces ruined by crabs, but a couple of decent fish , some lobworms picked up on the wet lawn on the way back and a damn fine glass of red wine before bed.

A good day. And I'm fishing again tomorrow.  Its a good life much of the time boiiiiiiiiiiiii.

Friday 8 September 2023

Bully's Redemption

I arrived at the Riverside campsite in glorious September sunshine with not a breath of wind.

Parked up fifty yards from the river, I put the kettle on just as Bully turned up.

The very big tides had put some colour in the river, along with loads of floating bankside detritus which proved to be a pain at certain times.

We've fished the tidal Trent this season on six or seven days and Bully, through a combination of mistakes and bad luck, was yet to catch a barbel. 

He's only ever caught one before, a litlun of a pound or so in the days when Harold Wilson was Prime Minister.  Or it might have even been McMillan. It wasn't Atlee, he's not that old. 

It was in the days when a thrupney ( its not in the Oxford dictionary so Im guessing ) bit would buy you a pint of mild and a packet of Woodbines. Along while ago. 

The bream, hybrids, roach and silver bream are about in huge quantities on this stretch. I was baiting up using a big feeder with just a bait band on the hook when a silver bream took the band ! To prove it wasn't a fluke it happened the next cast too.

The barbel fishing was a bit slow, but there were a few fish showing, not many but of a good average size

On the second day we started fishing mid afternoon after a morning drinking tea, chatting and farting about. Bully fished close in on slightly lighter gear and was rewarded the getting on for a dozen bream to 5lb, plus other bits and pieces.

Just to be clear the above style crime is not me.

After a break around tea time we returned ( a massive fifty yards walk ) for the evening session. Bully obviously had a plan. No sounds of the bait dropper being cast out, just two "plops" as both feeders were cast out.

About an hour later I looked along the bank and saw him laughing and doing a weird kind of jig. 

"What you laughing at ?" I said.

"I've got one ! I've got one !"

And he had. A clonker of 10lb 10oz.

Never has a man looked so happy.

A short while later he was in again. Another lump of 11lb 2oz

Returning to my swim my double 11 mm pellet was taken by a monster silver bream of 2lb 5oz. When I was weighing it the other rod shot off as a barbel headed towards the Humber. It was chaos. The barbel was eventually landed, a slim fish of around 8lb.

A short while later I heard splashing downstream and what do you know, The Barbel Master was in again. 9lb 11 oz this time and too small for him to bother with a photo.

We packed up after that and sat outside the van on a perfectly still, warm night and got through two bottles of red wine as Bully reflected on a glorious session where the ghosts of the the last two trips were firmly put to rest.

Well deserved and couldn't happen to a nicer bloke.

The next evening was slightly messed up by water skiers going up and down through the swim at fifty miles an hour but once they packed up I managed to wangle out a beauty of 10lb 2oz, before leaving for home.

Yet another great trip. We're so lucky to be able to do this.